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Little Bee

A story of survival, perseverance and hope, this book keeps you reading. It is narrated by two women, Little Bee from Nigeria and Sarah from England. They are interconnected, but if I told you how, it would give the book away. It is the story of an African girl entering the Western world, seeking refuge from Nigeria  hoping to be accepted in England. But what she encounters is hostility and racism, until Sarah comes in. Chris Cleave describes his characters as "I can have my characters explore some fairly dark humor...I am offering up a dark theme to the light [humor], so that it may be examined." Little Bee, when she is narrating, talks about how she would have to explain things in British culture to the "girls back home." This is her way of dealing with things that she encounters, explaining them fictionally to the "girls" in Nigeria. Cleave said this novel was based on a true story, the story of Manuel Bravo (read about him here, but keep in mind what happened to him did not happen to Little Bee in the book, Little Bee's story is simply based off elements of Bravo's). This novel makes you feel a torrent of different emotions, with each one pulling you in a different direction. It has the potential to become a celebrated work of literature. As the back of the book says, "Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds." Rating: ★★★★★

And the Pursuit of Happiness

Catch-22